The Walk - Week 1: More Than You Thought

Sermon Transcript

[Video]

Sometimes being a Christian in today’s world feels a little bit like warfare. We try to equip ourselves to rise above and to walk forward, but the bullets still come. Sexuality, greed, distractions, prejudice, cultural expectations, politics. And it seems impossible to walk the Christian walk when we’re just trying to survive. And everybody’s watching. What if our strength could be the catalyst for others to rise? How do we shield ourselves against all the temptations? Will the enemy ever cease fire? What does it take to walk the walk?

[End Video]

We are starting a new series this weekend called “The Walk,” and I know what everybody is collectively thinking, and those watching via the mobile app and the internet are also thinking, “Pastor Chip, over the next few weeks, you can help me become like Wonder Woman. I’m in.”

Right? Come on. You know that’s what you were thinking. For those bangles and blocking all those bullets and all that stuff. What’s interesting is that so many of us, when we see a hero, or we see somebody do something great, or we see, in athletics, somebody that’s transcendent, or we see a celebrity or whatever, all of us, deep down inside, there’s something within us that really wants to do something great. I mean, we’re hardwired that way.

I’d like to submit to you that your Heavenly Father wired you to be great. The problem is that in this world, and it’s a fallen world, there’s only so many people that can be great in this world. But in the Kingdom of God, it’s completely different. Because, see, God has uniquely called you and me, He’s uniquely created you and me to walk a walk that only you and I can walk. We have a race to run that only you and I can run. And if we do the things that God wants for us, if we follow God in the way He wants us to follow Him, then those seeds of greatness will be fulfilled because we will do great things.

And I think all of us want to do that. I mean, I always think — you know, I’m turning 48 this month and I’m having that moment where I go, “I’ve probably lived at least half of my life, if not more than half of my life.” And sometimes you start thinking about what’s important to me. And I’m even starting to think about legacy and who’s going to follow what I do and all of those things. They’re important to me, and I often think, “You know, when I finally hang up the cleats or the helmet, or put the racket away for the last time and I’m standing there and I’ve stepped into eternity, what do I want somebody to say over my life?”

What do you want somebody to say over your life? Maybe you were generous. Maybe you were kind. Maybe there’s things you don’t want them to say. He was arrogant, prideful or whatever it may be. But there may be plenty of things. Built a hospital or you were a good spouse or whatever. But who wouldn’t want, over your life, for someone to say, “This person walked with God?”

Who wouldn’t want that? I mean, “They walked with God.” Because you know if you walked with God, all the other things are just sort of there. And then here lies the issue, and it’s always the issue in church, is we go walk with God, we see videos of people doing something great and we’re like, “I’m in.” But when I say, “Walk with God,” and everybody goes, “I’m in,” if I were to give ten 3x5 cards out, I’d get ten different answers on what it meant to walk with God. And therein lies some of the difficulty.

So, let’s take a moment here and let’s just be honest for a second. I want you to think. I mean, it’s 10:15. Caffeine should’ve kicked in by now. Blood sugar should be up a little bit and all of those good things. So, let’s think a little bit. I’d like to submit to you that walking with God is probably more complex than we know. And I think we naturally intuit that, because when I talk about what would it mean to walk with God and you start going, “Well, all these different things, this, that and the other,” it’s probably a little bit more complex than we know.

Here’s the problem when you talk about complexity. Normally what happens, because a lot of people have been under the religious spell for a long time, when they hear the word “complex,” the first thing they do is that they hear, “It’s more difficult than we know.”

I didn’t say that. I didn’t say it was more difficult. I said it was more complex. Other people, they think in bad grammar and they think that it’s “more harder” than we know. Okay? And that’s not true either. What I said was that walking with God is probably more complex than we know. There’s a complexity to it.

I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid, one of the things that was really important, it was a craze, it was a fad, it was this thing called the Rubik’s Cube. It came out and everybody wanted to solve it. I had the simple solution. You could mess it up. I just pulled the plastic stickers off and repositioned them. I was like, “Bam. There you go. See how smart I am?”

But, after a while, that got old and the plastic was falling off, so you knew that I really wasn’t solving the puzzle. I just was removing some plastic on it. But what happened was I decided I wanted to solve the cube. My mom, she bought me a book called, “Solving the Rubik’s Cube.”

Well, I read the book and it was a little bit more complex than I’d signed up for. “This is too hard; too difficult.” It wasn’t more hard or difficult, it was just complex. Well, she helped me understand that book, and when I understand the complexity of the book, all of a sudden, I became like the local talent for all the family gatherings. It was like, “What’s Chip? He’s the first Bennett that’s done anything great. He can solve the Rubik’s Cube.”

You know? All that great stuff. And so, what happened was is all that complexity gave way to really something great. And walking with God is probably more complex than we know, but it’s also more rewarding than we may have ever imagined. The complexity should not keep us from wanting to walk after God.

So, let me give you an example of complexity and rewarding. Mindy and I are always looking for things to do as a family. We have all of our kids and we’re trying to figure out things. At this point, they’re starting to get a little bit older. Who knows, once they can start going to the bathroom by themselves, it’s a moment of God. Right? I mean, it’s like the Day of Pentecost has come. The Holy Spirit is filling everybody when they can do that stuff. And so, anyway, we’re thinking about what to do. So, we said, “Why don’t we figure out how to boat as a family?”

We’re like, “That’s a great idea.”

So, Mindy and I decided we’re going to go out and be a boater. Anyway, let me just say boating is complex. And so, we get in the boat. I’m driving along. It’s no big deal. I mean, you’re going down the intercoastal and it’s all great. I’m waving at people. “Hey, look at my wife. She’s good-looking. Yeah. Right?”

I’ve got my Perrier and all this stuff. And we decide, “Hey, what we’re going to do is we’re going to go and have lunch.”

It sounded like a great plan. Okay? But, to go have lunch, you have to dock the boat. Because boating is complex. So, we pull up to the dock and you’ve got to go into the slip. And the winds are blowing and the tide’s coming out. I have no idea about winds and tides because, once again, boating is complex. So, I’m pulling up. The boat’s turned sideways in the slip. You can’t even turn it sideways in the slip. I mean, it’s beating up against all kinds of stuff. There’s this guy that’s got his arm in a sling because he’s just come out of surgery. He’s down there trying to help me out.

And, about this time, everybody starts coming out of the restaurant. They’ve got their six packs, and their coolers, and they’ve got their Styrofoam thing to go. They pulled up their lawn chairs because they’re going to watch Chevy Chase and Will Ferrell dock this boat. That’s what’s going on. I mean, it was brutal. It was bad. And so, I tie it up. I didn’t even know how to tie a knot. I have no idea what knot I tied. We go have lunch. It was miserable because all I’m thinking is, “My boat’s going out in the thing.”

It was just terrible, terrible, terrible. Well, then it dawned on me that we’ve got to get this thing back out of the slip before we can go home. And I’m like, “Oh, man.”

So, I’m freaking out. I’m nervous and whatever. And I start to back up because all I’m worried about is hitting everything and knocking everybody over. And, as I’m backing up, here comes this 65-foot sailboat. You know, the guy that’s got the cool polo shirt on and the hat. He’s got the big boat and I’ve got the dinghy. He’s hanging out of his thing with his air horn going. I’m freaking out. I hit the thing forward. I go up against the pole. Everybody’s coming back up again. They’re like, “This is awesome.”

I mean, I entertained about 150 people. You know? It was just terrible. Because, see, boating is complex. We got done and finally got it in the channel. I’m like, “I ain’t doing this ever again. Done. D-O-N-E.”

Well, finally, my mind got the best of me. I’m like, “You know what? Look at all the people that do this. I mean, I’ve got to be able to do this.”

So, I looked on the internet and I found a guy that helps you learn to dock a boat. He came and helped me dock a boat. Well, a couple weeks ago, my brother comes down. I don’t get to see my brother very often at all. We go out, hang out, come back to the marina, pull the boat in right up front, put it in reverse, bring it right around. Bobby’s like, “You are a master.”

Absolutely. I’m a Jedi. You know? Here’s what I want to say: The complexity gave way to something that is fulfilling. And I don’t want you to lose sight just because walking with God may be complex. That doesn’t mean it’s hard or difficult, it just means it’s complex. It can also be incredibly rewarding.

So, what I want to do over the next six weeks, including this week — so, five more weeks. This is a longer series than normal, because we’ve got a lot of material to cover, and I want to make sure that we get this. I want to do two things. I want to inspire everybody in here to want to walk with God. I want you to leave here going, “Man, I want to walk with God.”

But if all I do is inspire you, I’ve not done a very good job as your pastor, because we also need to be equipped. Because if we can get inspired all day long, “Yeah, we’re going to do this. Sounds great. Sounds fantastic. All of this stuff, but I also need to be equipped.”

And that’s what we’re going to do over the next six weeks is we’re going to be inspired, but we’re also going to be equipped to walk with God. And so, let me just give you an idea here about how this word “walk” is used in the Old Testament, because it’s far greater than just a walk. It means something far greater than that. Just to give you one passage here, just so you can see some of the complexities, because we’re going to talk about these things over the next six weeks.

But here’s sort of the deal. So, Moses writes and he says, “You shall walk after the Lord your God.”

That’s what you should do. And then he explains what it looks like to walk the walk. In the New Testament, it says, “As you’ve received the Lord Jesus,” Colossians 2:6, “so walk in him.”

Ephesians 4:1: “Walk worthy of the calling to which you’ve been called.”

This idea of walking after God comes out of the Old Testament. You shall walk after the Lord your God. And you see, man, this is pretty in-depth here. Fear Him. Keep His commandments. Obey His voice. Serve Him. Hold fast to Him. It’s like, “Whoa, man. That is a lot of stuff here.”

So, once again, this is complex. And we’re going to have to unravel some of the complexity to learn what it means to walk with God, because all of us want to be like the video. We want to knock those bullets out. We want to walk in such a way that other people are rising up. We want those things for our life. We want to be inspired. We want to be equipped.

And so, what I want to do today is I want to just sort of talk to you about a guy that we’re told — we’re actually told — that he walked with God. I mean, that’s what we’re told. And I want to look at his life. Hopefully, he will inspire us. Hopefully, he’ll make us want to walk after God. Maybe we can learn a couple little things to get us moving in that direction and to equip us a little bit so that we’ll want to come back here and get the full-on deal over the next five following weeks.

Well, the guy I want to talk to you about is in the book of Genesis. And I don’t know if you’re like me. I assume you’re probably like me. You know, over the years I’ve had to sort of train myself to not be like me. I’ve had to learn to discipline myself and to read the Bible a little bit differently. But when we get into these “begets” and genealogies and stuff, you just want to go onto the next chapter. Right? Come on. I mean, you just do. You’re like, “There’s no way in the world that this could benefit me at all. I don’t care about this name I can’t pronounce. I don’t even care about his son. I don’t even care about his daughter.”

In fact, there’s two deal killers for reading the Bible through in a year. It’s the genealogies and it’s Leviticus. We all know that and it’s like, “Let’s go to the New Testament here. I think the Gospel of John is looking pretty good right now.”

And so, in Genesis 5, we start these genealogies and they’re sort of all the same way. It tells you some dude and he lived for this many years. And then, after he lived those many years, he had some kids. And then he lived for a little bit longer and he died. And it just sort of goes through that. You get to Seth and Enosh and Kenan and you get all these names. They live for this long. Then they had children. Then they lived a little bit longer. Then they died. And that’s just sort of the sequence of things that are going on.

But, right in the middle of all that stuff, there’s a couple verses that this guy named Enoch is mentioned. It’s important. You know, sometimes when you’re going through those genealogies, there’s usually one little thing in those genealogies that, if you’re really reading slowly and carefully, jumps out. So, let’s look at this here, because this is what Scripture says.

It says this: “When Enoch had lived 65 years...” — pretty normal pattern here that we’ve got in Genesis. We know he’s going to live for so long, then what’s going to happen is he’s going to have some children, then he’s going to live a little bit longer and he’s going to die. That’s the way the genealogies are working.

“When Enoch had lived 65 years,” — this dude had lived 65 years, and we’re not told that he’s anything other than a dude. He’s just a dude, which is great because I’m so glad, as a dude, that there are dudes in Scripture, because I need to know that there are dudes.

“When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah...”

Now, other than the name being really strange, Methuselah, and it’s not like Methuselah’s any stranger than Enoch. You know what I’m talking about? I mean, they both are sort of strange names. He fathers Methuselah. So, what’s the big deal? Many of you all, probably, if you grew up in church, Methuselah’s one of the characters you usually remember, because this guy lived for 969 years. He’s the longest living guy in the Bible.

It says, “When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah...”

And what we’re expecting at this point is that now we’re going to be told that he had sons and daughters and he lived a little bit longer and he died.

It says, “When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah. Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah...”

You’re like, “Hold on. All of a sudden this is different from everything else we’re reading.”

“Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah...”

I know what some of you are thinking. You’re thinking the same thing I’m thinking. You’re thinking, “Man, if you want to get close to God, have some kids.”

Come on, now. You know what I mean? You’ll be praying. “I’m going to take them out. I need to pray. God will keep me from taking them out.”

There are some toddler laws. If you don’t have any kids, you need to know these toddler laws. If you’ve had kids, you know that these are true. These are the Ten Toddler Laws, like the Ten Commandments. Number one: If I like it, it’s mine. That’s a truth here. Number two: If it’s in my hand, it’s mine. Number three: If I can take it from you, it’s mine. Number four: If I had it a little while ago, it’s mine. Number five: If it’s mine, it must never appear to be yours in any way. Number six: If I’m doing or building something, all the pieces are mine. Number seven: If it looks just like mine, it’s because it is mine. Number eight: If I saw it first, it’s mine. Number nine: If you’re playing with something and you put it down, it automatically becomes mine. Number ten: If it’s broken, it’s yours.

Scoundrels, right? So, he walked with God after he fathered Methuselah. And you may go, “Okay. That’s great. He had a kid. Whatever.”

Well, there’s a little bit more going on here. One of the things in the Old Testament that’s important for us to understand is that names were different. You know, I’m Chip. It just means Chip. I got my name when I was born. I was born in Harrison County, Cynthiana, Kentucky. I was born in Harrison Memorial Hospital. I came out. I was a Charles Dalton Bennett III. The nurse looks at my mom and dad and says, “I think Chip would be a great name.”

They said, “Hey, that sounds great.”

So, I got Chip. That’s how I got Chip. I mean, there was no thought, like, “Hey, God. We want to name our kid somebody with a great name.”

Just Chip. Yeah. It’s great, though, because when I do talk on the phone, I’m like, “My name’s Chip. That’s like chocolate or potato.”

They usually laugh. They like that. It’s funny. But anyway, Methuselah, like everybody else in the Old Testament, their name has a meaning. That name having a meaning probably explains why Enoch wanted to walk with God. There’s something here that happened. Just a little aside here, names mean a person’s character. Like Jacob, he was a supplanter and deceiver. He wrestles with God and God changes his name to Israel, prince of God. In other words, his character’s been changed.

So, this is just a little aside here. When you pray “in Jesus’ name,” that means you’re praying within the character of who He is. That doesn’t mean that you put J-E-S-U-S on the end of your prayer. I grew up in a church where I felt like the louder you said “Jesus” at the end of the prayer, the more effective the prayer was. Anybody ever been in those things?

Like, “Lord, we just pray for Sister Mary, that you heal her. In Jesus name!”

God’s like, “They used that name loud. Let’s answer that prayer.”

You know? No. To pray in somebody’s name is their character. So, Methuselah has a name. Hebrew scholars, they all sort of agree that there’s something about the name. They disagree exactly how the name comes from the roots and the stems of all the Hebraic words here. But, Methuselah, there’s three options here. One of the options is “man of the spear” or “man of the javelin.” The idea is some sort of judgment, like a spear being thrown or a javelin being thrown.

The other way that you can read Methuselah in Hebrew is, “When he dies, it will be sent.” And so, this idea of something about when he dies there will be judgment, the man of the spear, man of the javelin. Everybody agrees that there’s something here judgment wise.

Well, when you do a little bit of exercise — and sometimes you’ve got to do a little exercise of Scripture — and you start adding up some of the stuff and you look at Noah, Enoch is Noah’s great grandfather. When you look at Noah’s life and everything else and it tells you all the stuff, here’s what’s interesting: The year that Methuselah died was the year the flood happened.

So Methuselah, when he dies, it will be sent. Man of the spear. Man of the javelin. Enoch walks with God because he realizes when he has this son, he probably has an encounter with the Living God. And God says, “Enoch, you know the world’s bad. You know the world’s not a good place. I’m giving you a son. Your son’s going to live for a long time. During that time, even as wicked as people are, they’re going to have an opportunity to know me. But, at the end of that period, there’s going to be a judgment.”

And so, Enoch realized that, “Hey, this is a serious deal,” and he walked with God after he fathered Methuselah.

It says, “Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah for 300 years...”

Can I get an amen? It’s hard to walk with God for five minutes, right? This guy walked with God for 300 years, and he had other sons and daughters. And do you know what’s going to happen? He’s going to die.

It says, “Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years.”

Sixty-five years not walking with God. Sixty-five years being a dude. Three hundred years walking with God.

“Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.”

It’s like, he’s gone. Now, we’re going to find out in a minute, people say, “Well, God took Aunt Mable.” That means she died. That’s not what the Scripture’s saying. He didn’t die. He did not die. God took him. We’re going to see that in a minute, because the other place Enoch is mentioned is in the book of Hebrews, and we’re told that emphatically.

What’s interesting here is this: The writer of Genesis and Moses is telling us something. He’s going, “Most people live, then they have some kids, they live a little longer and they die. Most people live, then they have some kids, they live a little bit longer and they die. People live, they have little kids, a family and everything else, they live a little bit longer and they die.”

But the most important thing about living and everything else about being here is not the living and dying and family. The most important thing that humans can do is walk with God. That’s what Moses is saying here with Enoch. He walked with God. Look at what the writer to the Hebrews says about Enoch, because this sort of fills in the little bit that we don’t know:

“By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death,” — that’s why we know he didn’t die. Why would he have seen death? Well, because they couldn’t find him. What was happening? Well, they were looking for him. Who was looking for him? The godless people. They were looking to snuff him out. They were looking to take him out because this is a godless world, this is a world that God’s going to destroy and take everybody out. They’re looking for Enoch, God takes him and they couldn’t find him and they were looking for him, because God had taken him.

They were going to kill this guy. God said, “No, no. I’m going to take him out.”

It says, “Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God.”

Imagine that. Imagine walking with God in such a way that we please God. It’s like, “Man, sign me up for that.” I want to be that type of person, you know? I want to walk with God better than I drove that boat. You know what I’m talking about? And I think you do to. And so, here’s what I want to do today, because I’m really just trying to sort of get your appetite whetted a little bit. I want to inspire you a little bit, encourage you a little bit that, “Hey, this is going to be a series that I really need to be a part of and need to learn from.”

Normally, at this point, I have what are called take-homes. I say to get out a sheet of paper, and I still want you to get out your sheet of paper, but I’m not calling them take-homes this weekend in particular. What I’m calling them are “chewable spiritual vitamins” this weekend. Okay? The reason I said that is because I want you to chew on them, and also because I’m a nice guy. You get to pick the flavor of the vitamin that you want. You can have grape, you can have raspberry, you can have bubble gum or whatever you want. But I want you to write these down and chew on these things for a little bit because I believe they’ll get us at a place where over the next few weeks we’ll start to really be able to put some things together and think through some concepts and struggle through some of these things, because I think it’s important for us to do that.

The first one is this one. It may not make a lot of sense at first. I promise you it’ll make some sense as I get through it, but this is so important. First one is this: To walk with God really begins, at some level, with a proper understanding of both the grace and holiness of God.

And you say, “Where did that come from?”

Well, it comes from this: He walked with God after he fathered Methuselah. What happened was Enoch realized that God was far better than he could’ve ever even imagined. He had a revelation that this God is so great, this God is so loving and so full of grace that He’s going to allow this guy that I fathered to live 969 years, which means nobody’s going to live longer than that, nobody’s going to live and die before this guy does. Everybody’s going to have an awesome opportunity, even in the midst of a terrible, terrible world, to get to know God. God is so much more richly rewarding and full of grace and full of love than I could ever imagine.

But even that, he’s so far greater than I can imagine because He’s such a good God, He’s such an awesome God that He’s not going to allow evil to go on forever. Eventually, He’s going to put an end to all the problems in this world. So, Enoch had this revelation that God is so much greater, because not only does He love, not only does He car, not only does He have grace and love, but He’s also holy, He’s also righteous, and He’s also a God of justice. And as much as He loves people and as much as He gives everybody the opportunity, 969 years, at the same time, He’s not going to put up with all the garbage forever. He’s not going to let racism go on forever. He’s not going to let suppression of people and poverty and death and violence and a fear and all those things — eventually, He’s going to shut that down. He’s so much better than I could’ve ever imagine.

You know? And I say this because this is such an important and salient point here that needs to be unpacked. You know, the Church — and when I say, “the Church,” I just mean the big Church. We have such a difficult time with understanding grace, love, holiness and justice. We just don’t know what to do. And what we tend to do is we run to one side or the other. You’ve got the people that are like, “God’s just and He’s holy and He’s righteous. He’s going to judge and wrath is coming and all that stuff.”

They sort of focus over there. What’s interesting is is we’re told that those people really never walk with God. Because what we’re told is that their lips talk about Him, but their heart is far from Him. So, going on that side ain’t going to do you any good. Then you’ve got people on the other side. Grace. Like, “Oh, God’s just so good. He’s just so loving. He’s so kind.”

They’ve been hurt somewhere along the way, so all they can do is reimagine God in some sort of lovey-dovey candy story, cosmic teddy bear in the sky, and that God just loves everybody. And all they do is go around telling everybody how the church got everything wrong and that we don’t need to be told what to do or nothing. Don’t live an ethical or moral life. And they’re not close to God either, because that’s not really walking with God. That’s just making God in your own image.

And see, it’s tough because here’s the reality: If God is only holy and righteous, then He’s a tyrant, or at least could be. And if He’s only loving and grace and He doesn’t have any justice or holiness, then He could be infatuated. There’s both. God is both of all of these things. He’s all of this. And to understand that is so important. God is so much kinder and greater and just than we could ever imagine, and I think when Enoch had that understanding, he said, “You know what? I’m going to walk with God because He’s worth walking with. He’s a God who loves me greater than I could ever have understood. He’s got grace for me. He’s got grace for people more than I could’ve ever understood, but He’s also holy, He’s also righteous, He’s also just and He’s not going to let this stuff go on forever. He’s an awesome God and He deserves to be walked with.”

And I think that’s the start there of understanding as well. The second thing is this: To walk with God requires you and me to make a decision. We’ve got to make some decision here. And a lot of people don’t want to make a decision. Like, “Yeah. I don’t want to sign up, necessarily, for that. It might not work out exactly the way I want it to,” but you’ve got to make a decision. And we see that Enoch did. Enoch said he walked with God for 300 years. I mean, that’s pretty impressive. I mean, he chose to walk with God.

And so, this isn’t all exhaustive, but I think that it helps us to understand. First of all, if we’re going to walk with God, there’s got to be some belief. I mean, if you don’t believe there’s a God, you’re not going to walk with Him. If you don’t believe that that lady or that man is worth spending time with, you’re not going to walk with them. At some point, you’ve got to believe. At some point, you’ve got to go, “I believe.”

And here’s the reality: Some of you may have come here today for Mother’s Day, and you somebody may have told you, “Hey, man. Come to this church. We’re going to watch a movie.”

You thought you were going to watch a movie, saw Wonder Woman, and then you got schmuck Chip who can’t drive a boat, or whatever it may be. But the reality is this — and this is a DNA part of our church. If you’re here today and you’re like, “I’m not really sure if I believe, I’m not sure where I’m at,” let me tell you something. You can belong here before you believe. And let me tell you why I believe that passionately.

I believe that anybody who hangs around Grace Community Church long enough — in other words, they just belong here for a while — they’re going to see, through the things that this church does, through the lives that are changed, through the way we serve the community and do all the things that we do, you’re going to come to a realization at some point that there’s far more than men and women just gathering here. That Jesus Christ walks in this church. That’s why I want you to belong here before you believe, because if you hang out here long enough, you’re going to come to understand who Jesus Christ is and that you will believe at that point. I believe that with all my heart.

That’s why those doors are open to everybody. Come hang out with us. But at the end of the day, if you want to walk with God, there’s got to be a belief. And then, when there’s belief, you’ve got to spend some time with God. See, it’s hard to have a good — “Yeah, I married this lady, but I don’t spend time with her.”

You ain’t going to have a good marriage, you know? You’ve got to spend time with God. I mean, that’s just part of the deal. You’ve got to spend time. You believe in God, you spend time with God. And, as you spend time with God, you start to listen. Maybe through Scripture, maybe through a small group, maybe through church, maybe through a message. You start listening to what God has to say and then you’re struck with this — and this is the moment that’s the real deal for all of us. You know? We’ll start to walk with God. We believe. We spend time with God. We start to listen. Then we have to start asking the question, “Do I trust that what God says is better than what I want to do?”

Because, at some point, you’ve got to make that decision. “Do I believe the way God wants to order my life? Do I believe the way God wants to order my family? Do I believe the way that God wants me to love my wife or spouse or husband? Do I believe the way that God wants me to approach my finances? Do I believe the way that God wants me to live? Do I believe the way that God wants me to relate to other people? Do I believe all that stuff? Do I trust that God really knows what He’s doing?”

Because, if you don’t, you won’t obey. And so — isn’t this cool? It makes a cross. Yeah. See? That’s pretty cool, isn’t it? Just to be honest here, and candid, I didn’t realize it made a cross until I saw it, and I’m like, “That’s pretty cool.”

So, I want to take the glory for something that I didn’t really do, but that’s just part of it. Anyway, believe, spend time, listen, trust and obey. These are just some things that we’ve got to make a decision. That’s a decision that we make. Do we want to do these things?

And the last thing I would tell you is this: The walk with God is the most fulfilling life. I wouldn’t get up here and preach four times every weekend, I wouldn’t do what I do if I didn’t believe that the greatest thing that you can do in your life, that I can do in my life, is to follow God. Notice here I didn’t say that the walk with God is the most culturally aspirational fulfillment. I didn’t say that the walk with God is always going to be the greatest financial boom for you. I didn’t say that following God is always going to make everything exactly the way you want it, and it’s going to be even better than Disney world as a seven-year-old. I didn’t say that.

What I said was that following God and walking with God, in my opinion bar none, is the most fulfilling life that you and I can live, because I think we were created to walk with God. And nothing else can fulfill that other than a relationship with God. Now, I want to read you something. It’s out of Romans 12:1-2. I’m reading out of a real renegade translation. It’s called The Message Bible. It has nothing to do with the original Greek at all. I mean, it’s so far away from the original Greek, it’s not even funny.

But, sometimes, Eugene Peterson just nails the ideas that are going on and it really works well. I want to read this to you, because I think this is awesome. This is Romans 12:1-2.

Paul says, “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you.”

I love that. It’s like the guy who says, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.” I need God’s help. Even if I’m going to go do it, I need God’s help.

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.”

In other words, don’t have any more compartments. You’ve got something here, got something there, a little bit of God, go to church on Sunday, but I do this on Tuesday and I do this on Friday, and maybe small group here, but everything is sort of compartmentalized, and I don’t want God to get in every area of my life, because it might really make me uncomfortable.

Paul says, “Hey, listen. I want to take every part of your life, all of it, and I want you to offer it to God. I want you to go all in. All in to God.”

“Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.”

I’d like to submit to you — and I’m not trying to get on anybody’s toes — that so many Christians are so culturally fitted that they think that Christ is honoring their culture when Christ is actually, scripturally, telling them that their culture isn’t right. It’s easy to let culture — J.B. Phillips, another renegade translation, says, “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its mold. Instead, fix your attention on God.”

Focus on God, and here’s what’ll happen: You’ll be changed from the inside out. See, God doesn’t change you from the outside in. He changes you from the inside out. We humans want to change everybody from the outside in. We want to legislate stuff, tell everybody all this stuff. We want to say, “You do this, you do that.”

No, no. God says, “No, no. That stuff doesn’t work. That stuff does not work. That’s got a limited timeframe on it. Eventually, it’s a distasteful. It’s got to come from the inside. It’s got to be changed from the inside.”

He says, “Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it.”

In other words, “What He’s telling you is better than what you think. Do what He says to do. Focus on Him. Give Him all that you are.”

And he says, “Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity,” — and can I get an amen that culture today is like the most immature, high school culture in the world? Don’t get drug down into that garbage. I mean, my goodness.

It says, “God brings the best out of you,” — those desires for greatness. He brings the best out of you — “and He develops well-formed maturity in you.”

Because following God’s the best way. This is what Paul says to the church at Philippi, the epistle to the Philippians. It’s one verse, but it’s just so appropriate for us today as we get ready to pray. Let’s listen.

He says, “That you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.”

Can I tell you something? The Church doesn’t need more picket lines. The Church doesn’t need more political rallies. What the Church needs is some good, old-fashioned people that just want to walk after God. That’s what we need. That shine. That shine because of who they are and the walk that they have with God.

You know, when it’s the darkest outside, that’s the greatest opportunity for light to be seen. We have an incredible opportunity to walk with God. And who doesn’t want to walk with God? So, the next few weeks, we’re going to talk about, “How do I walk with God?” I want to inspire you this weekend. I want you to go, “Man, I’m in. I’m in. I’m in for the next five weeks.”

And listen, I know some of you have to travel and do whatever. You can watch these videos and all that stuff. I just want you to get this information. I want you to be properly equipped to walk the walk that God has for you, because I think it’s life-changing and transformational. And I think that not only will you experience the best and most fulfilled life — not only that, but I believe that as a church, if we continue to walk with God, we’re going to see all kinds of things that God does in our community. And that’s the huge win. Because I don’t know about you, but I want to drag as many people into the Kingdom of God as we possibly can while we have the time here on this earth.

So what I want to do is I want to pray over you. I want us to pray as a church. I want us to be inspired to walk. And before I pray, I want to say something to you because I know this is something I just really feel in my heart. Some of you — maybe you’re watching via the internet right now or mobile app. Some of you used to walk with God. And you still know all the prayers to pray and you still know all the words to say and you still know all the things that you could say to make it look like you do, but, deep down inside when I’m talking to you today, you’re going, “I need to walk with God again.”

This is for you. This is for you. Some of you are going, “I want to walk with God for the first time.”

This is for you. Some of you go, “I want to learn to walk with God.”

This is for you. This is for all of us. This is just a moment for us to be real and to pray and say, “God, this is where we’re going as a church for the next few weeks. Help me to be all in. Help me to get everything that I can possibly get.”

Let’s pray.

Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You so much for the opportunity to be able to share Your Word to Your people. Lord, I pray right now in Jesus’ name that You would inspire and encourage everyone in here to want to walk with You; a sincere walk and honest walk. Lord, help us to have ears to hear and to be equipped so that we can walk this walk that You want us to do, even though it may be complex. It doesn’t mean it’s difficult and it doesn’t mean that it’s hard. It just means that it needs to be understood.

And when we understand it, it will unlock the most fulfilling life that we could ever live. And so, Lord, right now, in Jesus’ name, I pray for all the people. I pray for those that are thinking about starting a walk. I pray for those that used to walk with God and no longer walk with God. I pray for those that want to walk with God. I pray for those that are being challenged right now in their walk for God. I pray, Lord, over the next several weeks that at Grace Community Church You would unleash Your Spirit and unleash Your power in our midst so that we can become people that truly, like Enoch, walk with You and walk after You and walk close to You.

So, Lord, we just life all of this up. We ask, Lord, that You would hear our prayers and hear our cries that we want to be those types of people, Lord, and work in our lives, Lord, to accomplish that so that we can become all that You want us to be.

So, Lord, as we leave here today, I pray that You would watch over us and protect us, I pray that You would continue to lead and guide us, and I pray that You’d bring us back safety to when we meet again. And Lord, help us to continually stay focused on what You’ve called us to do, and that is to be a church that’s going to reach the unchurched by being intentional neighbors that reflect Christ.

Lord, we love You, we thank You and we praise You. In Jesus’ name, and everybody said, “Amen.”

Give the Lord a big hand clap and tell Him you love Him. God bless everybody. See you soon.

John Flowerree